Goodbye to the Cuban Queen: A Lament for Ghost Town Ruins

Jerome, Arizona’s ruins are slowly disappearing. In March 2017, the roof of the Cuban Queen fell down, an iconic building that the Jerome Historical Society planned to restore.

The grand hulks that became symbols of the ghost town that it became known for—hospital, elementary school, Daisy Hotel and Douglas Mansion—have been restored and have become, respectively, the Grand Hotel, Town Hall, a private residence and State Historic Park.

Leigh and Richard weremarried here; kids loved to skateboard here; and the fire department benefits were great. Photo by Bob Swanson (Swansonimages.com)

Leigh and Richard were married in the Little Daisy; kids loved to skateboard theses floors; and the fire department benefits here were great. Photo by Bob Swanson (Swansonimages.com)

The floor of the Bartlett Hotel, the only ruin that remains on Main Street, is filled with coins pitched by tourists at an old outhouse and toilet and rusted mining artifacts. This odd coin toss earns as much as $6500 a year for the Jerome Historical Society.  Behind the shop now called Pucifer, the remains of the brick ‘cribs’, home of Jerome’s ladies of the night, were taken down by a previous owner to gain access to the back of the building.  The bricks were neatly stacked.  Then the bricks slowly disappeared.  As Jane Moore commented, it was a ‘crime.’

No cribs, no more. And where did all those bricks go?  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

No cribs, no more. And where did all those bricks go? (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The Jerome that I moved to in 1979 was still forlorn and decrepit looking, needing rescue. Today, Jerome has become modernized. Spiffed up. Gentrified.

This wreck was in old Mexican town below the post office. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

This wreck was in old Mexican town below the post office. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Money flows in from tourist veins that are as rich as any gold mine. Over a million visitors a year come to shop, party in the bars, gawk at the views, and hear tales of bordellos, gunslingers, and ghosts. The shops are full of art, jewelry, and handmade clothing, award-winning wines and exotic olive oils.

Can this building be saved? It's the old Cuban Queen, symbol of the mining city bordellos. (Photo by )Bob Swanson

The Jerome Historical Society wanted to restore the old Cuban Queen, symbol of the mining city bordellos. Then the roof caed in. For those of us who lived in Jerome in the Jade/Rosie days, it was their home and magnet/tile making studio.  I still have some of them.  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The names of many businesses play on the mythology of ghosts: The Haunted Hamburger, Ghost Town Inn, the Spirit Room bar, Ghost Town Tours, and Ghost Town Gear. The Grand Hotel provides ghosts meters to visitors interested in documenting their contacts. The annual Jerome Ghost Walk is one of the most popular events that the Jerome Historical Society produces. It draws many hundreds of people to its re-enactments of historic events.

Many don’t mourn the loss of ruins. Sometimes tourists fell off the old walls. Shopkeepers complained ruins were fire hazards and dubbed them liabilities. Many homes that once went for under a $1000 have sold for over a quarter of a million dollars. In the ghost town years, they were ripe for pickings and vandalism. Up to the 1980’s, residents would find people wandering through their yards, saying, “I thought this was a ghost town.”

The iconic T.F. Miller building was ordered to be torn down by Phelps Dodge in 1953. "Jerome is finished," a mine official said. Kids were paid a penny a piece to clean the bricks. (Photo courtesy: Jerome Historical Society)

The iconic T.F. Miller building was ordered to be torn down by Phelps Dodge in 1953. “Jerome is finished,” a mine official said. Kids were paid a penny a piece to clean the bricks. (Photo courtesy: Jerome Historical Society)

I never tired of walking among Jerome’s ruins. The shards of Jerome’s fabulous mining past were embedded in its abandoned buildings, crumbling walls, and collapsed roofs. Ruins shared visible histories of this once powerful and fabled city—“the richest copper mining city” in the West.  There were ghosts in those ruins; you could feel them.

The old bakery ovens are still hanging around in the back yard of one of my friends, (Photo by Bob Swanson)

The old bakery ovens are still hanging around in the back yard of one of my friends, (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Before new mine owners forbid walking down to the 500-level, I loved walking around the foundations of the housing units for mid-level employees (plumbers, carpenters, electricians). I loved sneaking into the old mining building known as the “Dry” with its rows of empty lockers and broken-up shower stalls. I could easily visualize 1500 miners simultaneously showering up after their shifts and hanging their clothes to dry on pulleys that hoisted them high into the rafters. Vaporous ghosts.

Interior of the Dry on the 500 level.  (Photo by Bob Swanson)

Interior of the Dry on the 500 level. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

For old-timers who return by the hundreds for the annual town reunion called “Spook Days,” ruins were the roots of their powerful attachment to Jerome. “I was only here from 1928-1948, but I feel a strong attachment to Jerome. No other place I’ve ever lived in have I felt that attachment,” said one old Mexican.

Another said, “I was only three years old when I left Jerome, but I remember things. . . I remember my father’s house. I remember the snow. And I remember sitting on my grandmother’s balcony at night, looking down into the valley. I could hear crickets and it was so peaceful.”

Ruins revealed oddities about people who used to live here. One of my favorite ruins was the old homestead where Father John used to live. When he died, he left behind a lot of junk: rusting cars, collections of stoves, and a room full of ladies shoes, singles only. Now what would a priest be doing with so many ladies’ shoes? Father John’s home mysteriously burned the night after he was found collapsed and dehydrated in his bedroom at the Catholic Church and was dragged to the hospital. Years later, the homestead was replaced with the new Gold King Mine, which includes a lot of old pre-fifties trucks, a museum of mining relics and old sawmill from Weed, California. There never was a mine there, much less one that mined gold.

A new town has emerged, full of its own colors and legends, a village of little crime and high spirits. The ghost town is all but gone.

One of my all time favorites ruins, now the cover of Rich Town Poor Town. It was in perfect splay when Bob took the shot. Then it fell down. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

One of my all time favorites ruins, now the cover of Rich Town Poor Town by Roberto Robago, a great book. The ruin was in perfect splay when Bob took the shot. Then it fell down. (Photo by Bob Swanson)

But when the oldtimers die, who will share the memories and secrets of old Jerome? And when the ruins are gone, where will the ghosts hide?

Updated from an earlier blog.

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Jerome AZ Seesaw: Riches to Rags to Riches

Marshall Terrill, an author and a reporter for the East Valley Tribune, emailed me and said he loved my book Home Sweet Jerome and wanted to write something about it.  It’s every author’s dream. After I got his email, I looked him up. He is noted for his biographies of Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen and Pete Maravich, basketball great. Wow, I thought to myself, what an honor.

Terrill wrote me questions and asked me to write the answers and to please stick to two paragraphs. They were good questions and I thought a long time about how to answer them. The article Terrill posted was wonderful. My answers, way too long, were shortened. Here’s his article, which was generous and praiseworthy: http://eastvalleytribune.com/eedition/page_42427fd9-1903-594e-9f23-e06eb4f4ee05.html#page_a14

For the historical record, here’s the long version of my answers.

Difference between Aboveground and Below Ground Jerome AZ

Terrill: 1.) Give us a taste of what Jerome when it was a thriving copper town before 1953?’

 The major boom years were 1895 to about 1930 with a population peaking at about 15,000. Two mines worked full time, employing about 4000 people, and pulling out some of the richest copper ore ever seen in America. Aboveground, Jerome AZ was a rich and glamorous city, the center of Northern Arizona with the finest hospitals and schools; and plenty of social activities, not all savory.

Below ground, in the city of 88 miles of tunnels, life was not so glamorous. For the working miner, it was a 12-hour hardscrabble life, with plenty of dust to infect your lungs, and where being able to shower after work on company time was considered a ‘perk.’

The Dry

“The Dry” where me showered after work— first they showered off all the muck; then took off their clothes and hung them high in the rafters to dry, headless ghosts of the men below, Photo by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com). The Dry no longer exists. It was razed circa 2005.

In the nineteen thirties, a number of events began to turn Jerome in a downward direction, including the depression, the sale of the United Verde to Phelps Dodge, and the drop of copper prices after World War II.

Environmental Degradation: Mining’s Biggest Insensitivity

Terrill 2) You cite 1953 as a sort of Ground Zero for Jerome when Phelps Dodge discontinued mining. My jaw dropped when I read about how the company not only pulled out of town, but salvaged parts of buildings and took anything of value before leaving Jerome. Was this sort of behavior par for the course with other copper mining towns or was Jerome’s case particularly insensitive?

It was standard operating procedure, however insensitive and cruel it was. You close down a mine and salvage what can be re-used. If you could give employees jobs in your other mines, you did. The rest of the people you forgot about and took no responsibility for. Move or stay was their problem. The Mexican laborers and their families who had built their own houses, pulled them down, salvaging what they could, and went to find jobs elsewhere. The houses that Phelps Dodge built for employees, usually management and middle management, were either torn down or shut down or put on flatbeds and carted away to other towns. The hospital, United Verde apartments and company hills houses were boarded up and the electricity shut off. The 4-story Miller Building, the company store, was pulled down to avoid taxes and potential liabilities from what Phelps Dodge called ‘safety issues.’ Nor was their any expectation that the 140 or so adults and 86 children that stayed behind, would have the wherewithal, the money or the will, to continue living in Jerome and maintain the infrastructure. “Jerome is finished,” one mining official said. “Within a year grass will grow on Main Street.”

Perhaps the biggest insensitivity, if you could put that rather bland word on it, was the immense environmental degradation Phelps Dodge walked away from. Not just in Jerome, but in the Verde Valley. But remember, this was the fifties. There were no environmental laws in place. No law equaled no responsibility.

Toxic tailings

When it rained, water that was contaminated with copper sulfate flowed through the taiiings and into Bitter Creek, turning the water azure. Photo by Bob Swanson (www.swansonimages.com)

Supernatural Attachment.

Terrrill 3.) Jerome was literally a ghost town in the 1950s and 1960s. For the few people who stayed behind, what did they state their reasons were given the poor conditions of homes, sewer, water and power?

First, Jerome was never a ghost town. That was an invention of the Jerome Historical Society as a way of encouraging tourism. Jerome was a village that 220-300 people lived in, with perhaps 100 houses and maybe eight buildings that weren’t being lived in. The high school, with the exception of a few years, was still operating in 1972. If you stayed in Jerome after the fifties, you kept up your house as much as you could. The houses that were not lived—such as those on Company Hill— in deteriorated pretty fast. And the big problem that emerged with advertising Jerome as a ghost town was that many tourists became predators who thought they somehow entitled to the ‘leavings.’ They would wander into houses that obviously looked lived in and become entirely surprised to find someone quite offended.

Jerome's "Pretend Ghosts"

Jerome Historical Society members dressed up as “Spooks: on Main Street in the nineteen fifties to help publicize Jerome as a ghost city. Courtesy Jerome Historical Society

Virtually everyone that stayed, or moved there in the fifties and sixties, talked about the love they had for Jerome, one that I characterize as a supernatural attachment. They always talked of the superb views. People that left and came to visit told me they always wanted to come back to live there again. And people that did live there in the fifties and sixties told me what how peaceful, enjoyable and quiet village life was. For sure the kids had a superb life, the mines, the tunnels, the empty buildings and homes were just one big massive playground that was entirely open to them. And then, layered into all that, was the sense that everyone was working towards the town’s restoration, and there was some sense of hope that someday, Jerome would become a history Mecca, and later, an art Mecca—even though towards the end of the sixties, the town needed something of a miracle to stay alive, not just in terms of fixing its deteriorating infrastructure but its very poor economy. In those years, Jerome was one of the poorest towns in the state.

Love, Need and Hope

Terrill 5.) The late 1960s and early 1970s saw an invasion of dissatisfied hippies move into town and had to not only intermingle with the old-timers, but had to come together in planning the future of Jerome. How did that happen?

Well, that’s the whole book and more, and it’s the question that impelled me to writing it, and what probably makes the book a fascinating read. Love, need and hope make powerful allies. That’s what binds uncommon people together, overcomes antipathy and impels them forward in a common mission. Virtually everyone shared a love of the town, a need to make sure it didn’t fall down the mountain, and a hope that it could become a viable place to live.

“The way I felt about it, I kind of resented it at first, this hippie group moving in,” said John McMillan, one of the most respected of the town elders. “But I found there were some pretty smart kids among them and they got into the politics of Jerome and took over the Town Council and did a pretty good job. I don’t resent that at all because these old timers, they can’t run the damn place forever.”

Restoration didn’t happen all at once, but what made it start to happen, is that the hippies became ‘joiners.’ Some joined the fire department; some joined the historical society; some ran for town council, and so on. And it wasn’t so much that there was a plan, but a need to get infrastructure in order, town accounting organized in order to get grants. And the other piece, the one that’s the most controversial, is that the hippies began to grow large marijuana gardens that brought cash into town and enabled everything from artists starting their own businesses to having the money to rebuild their houses. When you add income to love, hope and need, and begin to build a viable economy, then suddenly a future for Jerome became a whole lot more possible.

Riches to Rags

Terrill 5.) What inspired you to research the history of Jerome and make you want to put it all down in book form?

I wanted to know the history of where I had chosen to live. When I moved to Jerome in 1979, several layers of history were entirely visible and wove in and out of each other, but without context. There were large amounts of mining wastes and a big open pit; a denuded mountain; large houses on Company Hill that looked like they were ready to fall apart and were emblematic of what I heard was a ghost town; large, boarded buildings, such as the hospital, or the Daisy Hotel which was windowless and roofless. And because the town was encompassed in about one square mile of real estate and only had about 400 people living there, my first question was how did Jerome swing from rich to decrepit.

A typical house wreck in Jerome AZ

One of my all time favorites ruins, now the cover of the book Rich Town Poor Town. In 1985, the building was in perfect splay when Bob took the shot. Then it fell down. (Photo by Bob Swanson, www.swansonimages.com)

Although there was a fair amount written about the boomtown mining days, what happened afterwards was scant. So I started asking. Old-timers and newcomers began telling me stories that edged on preposterous—how Jerome’s mortician flew over the town in the sixties and threw out seeds of paradise trees; how the historical society acquired most of downtown for $10; how the biggest theft in Jerome was money hidden in the church and discovered after the priest died in 1979. So if you were a historian, like me by education and curiosity, you became a detective that was sucked into researching the veracity of those stories. I became hooked. And the more I heard and studied, the more devilishly contradictory and intriguing it all became. It was as though I found myself in the middle of a movie, in which I was playing some role that wasn’t quite clear to me, with a cast of extraordinary heroes and scoundrels that had already been part of many dramas. So there we all were, careening towards a future for Jerome that was not possible to predict, in a falling down town. Better than any novel you could concoct.

Rags to Riches: America’s Loveliest Town

Terrill 6.) What is your view of Jerome today, and has it reached its full maturity?

I would use the word restoration instead of maturity. With a few exceptions, Jerome has reached full restoration. Jerome has become the art and history Mecca that residents had hoped for. The town draws more than a million visitors a year. Business is booming. If you visit Jerome in the early morning or even after five when the visitors more or less disappear, what you would see is an astonishing lovely village, perhaps one of the most beautiful in America, surrounded by empty land that is beginning to be reforested and a breathtakingly beautiful eighty mile panoramic view of valleys and canyons that changes with the weather and time of day—“heaven on earth” as photographer Ron Chilston likes to say. Buildings on Main Street, the Grand Hotel, Douglas Mansion, The Little Daisy, have been lavishly restored. Many rebuilt homes are beautiful and comfortable. Those old decrepit Company Hill houses are now jewels on the hill. The whole town has become an oasis—one huge garden of flowers with thousands of pine and fruit trees. A variety of activities can accommodate visitors of every taste and age, from looking for ghosts to sipping wine or cappuccino, dancing to rock ‘n roll, to visiting Jerome’s mining museums, to going to the quirky museum of old trucks at the Gold King Mine (which was never a gold mine).

Fall in Jerome AZ

“Fall in Jerome” by Mark Hembleben, a plein air artist currently living and painting in Jerome. Hembleben has an art studio in the old Mingus Union High School. The painting shows why artists love to paint this lovely village. (www.markhemleben.com).

But for many residents, there is a downside to success. Lots of cars and motorcycles go up and down the hill daily and with them a lot of noise and low rumble. Quite a few people own homes right on the main highway and noise and fumes from cars creeping into the houses are intolerable. A kind of frenetic people bedlam makes it less pleasant to be uptown or even near it during the day. And then there is some fear that the income that can now be commanded from vacation rentals will mean a decrease in residential population, a decrease in taxes coming into the town, and a degradation of the community spirit that once re-built the town.

Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City by Diane Sward Rapaport

Books and Pamphlets About Jerome AZ’s History and Lifestyle

Some Jerome residents have written histories and pamphlets about Jerome in various juicy, quirky, glorious eras. But most go back, and back again, to the wicked mining days for inspiration and write about ghosts, bordellos and gunslingers, themes that mirror ones that many tourists are attracted to: Ghosts of Cleopatra’s Hill; Jerome Times: Ghosts Upon the Page, and the latest to come across my doorstep,The Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello and Rich Town, Poor Town: Ghosts of Copper’s Past. The founding members of the Jerome Historical Society had their fingers on a certain pulse of Jerome when they wrapped themselves up in sheets, called themselves spooks and grandly proclaimed “The Past is our Future.”

Jerome Spooks on Main Street in the nineteen fifties. Courtesy Jerome Historical Society

Jerome Spooks on Main Street in the nineteen fifties. Courtesy Jerome Historical Society

Here are my reading favorites about Jerome’s mining days.

Jerome’s Mining History

Herbert V. Young, who worked as a Secretary for William Andrews Clark, owner of the United Verde Copper Company, wrote two good ones: Ghosts of Cleopatra’s Hill and They Came to Jerome (Jerome Historical Society).

Bookcover5

Bookcover4

People interested in Jerome’s mining history should always start with these books first. Herb was still alive when I came to Jerome, a kindly old gentleman, who autographed his books for me. I refer to them so often that they’ve long since lost their bindings. He wrote about the men that became powerfully rich, the lawmen who tried to keep Jerome safe from considerable disorder and mayhem and Jerome’s ethnic diversity. Both books have great photos. The books are published by the Jerome Historical Society and are available to visitors at their Mine Museum and Gift Shop. Otherwise they can be ordered from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/They-Came-Jerome-Herbert-Young/dp/0962100064

http://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Cleopatra-Hill-Herbert-Young/dp/0962100056/ref=pd_sim_b_3

An excellent book about the social and economic effects of Jerome’s mining’s decline is Eric L. Clements’ book, After the Boom in Tombstone and Jerome, Arizona: Decline in Western Resource Towns (University of Nevada Press, 2003). This meticulously researched book is about population shifts, the effect of economic downturn on wages, schools, churches, and so on.

http://www.amazon.com/After-Boom-Tombstone-Jerome-Arizona/dp/0874175712/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334268720&sr=1-1

Roberto Rabago, Rich Town Poor Town: Ghosts of Copper’s Past (MultiCultural Educational Publishing Company, Jerome, 2011)

The home on Cleopatra Hill that author It Roberto Rabago grew up in. Ohnly rubble remains. Photographer Bob Swanson captured it in full tilt in 1985.

The book cover for Rich Town Poor Town was the home on Cleopatra Hill that author Roberto Rabago grew up in. Only rubble remains. Photographer Bob Swanson captured it in full tilt in 1985.

A fascinating, barely masked fictional account, about the more brutal aspects of what it was like to live and work in Jerome during its mining days, particularly if you were Mexican. Rabago grew up there as the son of a miner. “Keep in mind that the world of Jerome a century ago was a completely different world than today’s world. Then, there were no labor unions, no Fair Labor Standards Act, no OSHA, no antidiscrimination laws, no welfare, no worker’s compensation, no minimum wage, no unemployment insurance, on and on. Neither did a world of independent law and justice exist, because the all powerful mining companies were not restrained in any way by the regulations and laws that did exist. The mining companies were the law.” As a child, Rabago loved growing up in Jerome. But as he matured and heard stories from family and friends, he came to characterize Jerome as a penal colony—a remote town that was difficult to get to and equally difficult to leave. If you had a job in Jerome, you toed the line. The mining companies controlled all aspects of life. And should the miners rebel, the guns came out. The stories are plainly told and speak of pain and suffering within the families. . http://www.facebook.com/richtownpoortown/app_237643432966984

Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello by Peggy Hicks (self-published 2011) is a meticulously researched book about one of Jerome’s most famous mining day madams who established the upscale Cuban Queen Bordello. The book was inspired by Peggy’s ghostly encounter outside of the old building.

Hard to top a tale that includes  bordellos, ghosts, famous madam, Jelly Roll Morton , and the kidnapping of a child.

Hard to top a tale that includes bordellos, ghosts, famous madam, Jelly Roll Morton , and the kidnapping of a child.

Like an old fashioned sleuth, Hicks follows the “Queen’s” life through the bordellos of New Orleans (the Queen called herself Juanita Gonzales then) to Las Vegas, where she meets and marries the legendary jazz pianist, Jelly Roll Morton (renaming herself Anita Morton or Anita Gonzales), to their brief high life in Los Angeles, to Jerome where she becomes Annie Johnson. There the story becomes more twisted when Annie Johnson falls in love with a handsome Irish miner, Jack Ford and ends by fleeing with him and kidnapping the four-year old son of a woman that had worked for her to Canyonville, AZ. It’s the stuff of movies and it is Peggy’s wish to interest some movie mogul to take on this wild tale. She’s already made a 15 minute documentary that won an award an an indie film festival in Jerome, Arizona see . The book is available at Arizona Discoveries in Jerome or at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Cuban-Queen-Bordello-Arizona/dp/0578073439

Dedman, Bill and Paul Clark Newell, Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. New York City, NY: Ballantine Books, 2013.

For Jerome historians, the most interesting and valuable segment of Empty Mansions is the 125 pages or so (almost a third of the book) devoted to William Andrews Clark, Huguette’s father. In my opinion, this segment is the single best biography yet written about William Andrews Clark—from his birth to a not so poor family, to his education, growth of his business empire, the building of his mansion in New York, and the dissolution the mansion and sale of the United Verde mine. The book offers a much more complex and interesting portrait of him than the one of Huguette. The segment on William Andrews Clark includes eighteen pages of rich new information about the battles between Marcus Daly (owner of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company) and Clark for control of political power in Butte.  These include debunking some of the allegations of Clark’s bribery for the United States Senate and its aftermath, which included the Daly camp’s bribery of some of the Montana legislators that had initially voted for Clark to recant their testimony. Clark eventually resigned in the swirl of controversy, then was reappointed to fill the vacancy.

The book also debunks the veracity of Mark Twain’s now famous and oft-quoted excoriation of William Andrews Clark.  “He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag.” (It goes to show that negative accusations always stay more firmly in the mind that positive ones, especially when they are well-written.) Turns out Twain had been saved from bankruptcy and was a close friend of Henry Huttleston Rogers, CEO of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, the company which took over Daly’s Anaconda Copper, a fabulous stock swindle story all on its own.

For Railroad Buffs

If you are a railroad buff and want to know about railroads that supported Jerome, then you read Russell Wahmann’s books. Wahmann was a volunteer archivist for the Jerome Historical Society in the early 1980’s. He loved railroads. The first book he put together was an Auto Road Log that followed the 26-mile route of the Narrow Gauge Railway from Jerome, Arizona to Chino Valley. http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Road-Log-Junction-Pacific/dp/B00318WNM6

Then he wrote Narrow Gauge: the United Verde And Pacific Railway, which gives a historical perspectives about what Wahmann calls ‘this noble little railway” that had such a dramatic effect in ensuring the wealth of the United Verde Mine. http://www.amazon.com/Narrow-Gauge-Jerome-Pacific-Railway/dp/0962100005/ref=sid_dp_dp

Russ’s book Verde Valley Railroads: Trestles, Tunnels and Tracks, written in collaboration with Robert des Granges, describes all the railroads that supported Jerome, AZ’s mining efforts.

Bookcover2 http://www.amazon.com/Verde-Valley-Railroads-Russell-Wahmann/dp/0962100048/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

There are a few other books about Jerome’s mining days out there, but these are my personal favorites.

Post 1953: Growth of Modern Jerome

Although magazine articles abound about Jerome, few books and pamphlets exist on what happened when the mines reduced Jerome to a virtual ghost city.

Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City by Diane Sward Rapaport, was published by Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing) in Spring 2014. It is the first book to chronicle how a dilapidated and virtual ghost town became one of Arizona’s art centers and celebrated destination resort.

Diane Sward Rapaport's history of Jerome. Arizona after 1953

The first history of Jerome. Arizona after 1953.

“Rapaport’s book captures the quirky strategies undertaken by those who stayed so they could continue living in the place they called home…Home Sweet Jerome is a book for all who love to read about real people and their foibles, often in their own words. It’s a book for history buffs who are interested in alternate endings. And it’s a book for people who love landscape and place…The stories are fascinating.”—Pat Bean, Story Circle Book Reviews

Ballad of a Laughing Mountain, written by Richard Snodgrass, and photographed by Art Clark (Counterpoint Productions 1957) contains mostly photographs and captions, but it absolutely captures the look and feel of Jerome in its ghost town days in the fifties. A rickity, poor town on the side of a mountain.

Bookcover3http://www.amazon.com/Ballad-laughing-mountain-Art-Clark/dp/0962999008

Jerome Times: Ghosts Upon the Page by Terry Molloy (self-published, 2005) is a collage of poetry and short tales. It contains one chapter that is personal memoir and history. Molloy’s chapter, “The White Ship” provides the best glimpse into what Jerome was like in the late sixties when Terry moved there and his life as a hippie. The rest of the book navigates some very imaginative shoals as he relates stories that are more mythology than history about old timers, madams and outcasts living in various eras of Jerome. More than a third of the book are poems that reach into Terry’s surreal encounters with himself, characters in Phoenix/Tempe, lost love and so on.

Illustration by Gary Fife

Illustration by Gary Fife

http://www.jerometimes.com/bookorder.html

The title of Terry’s book derives from a series of 12 magazines published in the 1980’s called “The Jerome Times,” that were edited by Terry. The magazine’s covers were one of its true treasures. Gary Fife, publisher and art director concocted images of Jerome as a marina, A T-Base Space Launch in front of Jerome’s open pit, Jerome as a Buddhist temple, and so on.

The Birds of Jerome by Jo Van Leeuwen, self-published, characterizes and illustrates the seasonal birds that have come to live in Jerome after the fifties. Before then, Jerome and the mountains surrounding the town, were denuded of trees and other vegetation. What might have been left was killed in the sulfurous fogs of the smelters. New residents planned fruit trees, pines, flowers and vegetables. The town came back to life; and the birds followed. Joey’s backyard arboretum has almost as many species of tees as there are birds of Jerome. In the evening, Joey sits on the back porch with his binoculars and watches the birds feast on a smorgasbord of fruits, berries and nuts. A few stores carry this book in Jerome, notably the connor Hotel Bookshop; the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum and the Wary Buffalo. You could send Joey $15 postage to Box 395, Jerome, AZ 86331.